Hiya, Peeps. Andi here, doing the intro for fab Bold Strokes YA author KE Payne, who is joining us today with her tale of going through the edits of her latest novel, The Road to Her, which is HOT OFF THE PRESS, friends. Released, like, a minute ago. KE describes it below, so I’ll leave that to her, but it’s bound to be another awesome read.
Anyway, KE Payne is an award-winning author based in the Cotswolds, where she writes writes writes and hangs out with a plethora of dogs and guinea pigs.
And now, friends, here’s KE:
Going through the edits
If there’s one thing guaranteed to get my backside into gear and get on with editing a book, it’s being injured and not having any choice but to sit on aforementioned backside and, well, just get on with the editing process. This is the situation I found myself in a few months back, much to the delight of my editor, who had her edits for my latest novel returned to her so fast it made her head spin. Under normal circumstances, of course, this isn’t always the case.
Why? Because editing is a faff, that’s why.
My latest book, The Road to Her, could quite possibly be the one I’ve enjoyed writing the most. I had an absolute ball with it, and have loved every second of the journey of my two main characters, actresses Holly and Elise, who play two characters called Jasmine and Casey in a fictional UK soap, ‘Portobello Road’. Jasmine and Casey fall in love in the programme’s first-ever lesbian storyline, but when they start to develop feelings for each other in real life too, where does that leave them?
I lived and breathed Holly and Elise during the months I was writing about them. I thought about them 24/7. I fell in love with them more than once. I laughed with them, cried with them, got incredibly miffed if one was horrible to the other, and felt empty when I’d finally written those two words,’The End’. So how is it that this novel that I’ve loved and crafted over so many months was the very last thing I wanted to be looking at once I’d finally sent it off to my editor? Why did I dread opening my inbox to see emails from her with the subject heading: Edits, part one – words that are able to strike fear into my heart like no others?
In short, I adore The Road to Her. But I knew, like all my other books, editing it would be a struggle, and I knew, just like school homework all those years ago, that I’d stubbornly refuse to even acknowledge their existence. They’d wait patiently for me, calling to me from my hard drive, with me resolutely ignoring their calls until I’d realise with a shriek five weeks later that I had less than a day to finish them, and then kick myself for being so stubborn in the first place.
It’s all systems go when edits first come along, but I’ll still do anything to avoid doing them. Overnight I gain the strength of Arnie Schwarzenegger and Vin Diesel all rolled into one, and cleaning suddenly becomes top of my agenda. Rewrite chapter fifteen? I think not. I have far more important things to do. Rooms get dusted. Knick-knacks get polished. The dog gets five walks a day. Items of furniture get lifted and tickled with a feather duster. The Other Half gets to see me! (and gets lifted and tickled with a feather duster – but only at weekends), and skirting boards get a good suck with the nozzle attachment to the vacuum cleaner, and I didn’t even know that it had one. This is what edits do to me.
But not with The Road to Her.
Can you hear the cheering? My editor has put me to the top of her Christmas card list because I, KE Payne, returned her entire edits back to her in less than a week.
It’s at this point that you’re all probably thinking I’m Wonder Woman (for those of you under 30, think Amazonian warrior princess. In a sparkly tiara and spandex. Trust me, it worked) and that I’m trying to get brownie points because underneath this suave exterior (!) lies nothing more than a low-down sneaky brown-nose.
A badly torn calf muscle had me confined to the house during the whole of April. As luck would have it, that’s when the final edits to The Road to Her came in, and considering every step I took was agony, and the use of crutches had me wobbling around like Bambi on ice, I had no choice but to sit and edit all day. And I mean ALL day. Well, it was either that or watch The Jeremy Kyle Show on constant reel on the TV. No one deserves that, right?
Of course, I’d like to be able to tell you that I tore my calf because I’m not really a middle-aged lesbian YA writer from a small village in England, but because I’m actually part of a renowned international trapeze act, and I got injured doing a particularly tricky double back somersault during a performance for the Queen. Blindfolded. Instead, the reality is that, erm, it just tore one day and, thanks to the enforced incapacitation, my knick-knacks remained dusty, the dog remained unwalked, and nothing was lifted and tickled with a feather duster in weeks. And The Other Half? Don’t even ask.
But the result was, the edits all got done! In double-quick time! The finished article, in all its glory, is available to buy everywhere from 16th July. It’s my fourth YA novel, I love it, and I’m absolutely over the moon to have been lucky enough to have it published.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. If you do read it, please think of me, fully recovered and now back to tap-dancing around the house with my feather duster, chivvying up my skirting boards and hoovering the dog once more.
And, of course, putting off yet another set of edits, because, yes, they’re still a faff.